Aelia Eudocia, wife of Theodosius II. Medallion of two solidi, Constantinopolis 423, AV 8.94 g. AEL EVDO – CIA AVG Pearl-diademed and draped bust r. Rev. SALVS REI – PVBLICAE The Empress, nimbate and draped, seated on throne facing; in l. field, star and, in exergue, CONOB. Gnecchi –. RIC –. LRC –. MIRB –. Depeyrot –. Tkalec sale 18 February 2002, 277 (these dies).
Of the highest rarity, apparently only the third specimen known. An impressive medallion
with an interesting portrait and a very elegant and finely detailed reverse composition.
Minor areas of weakness, otherwise extremely fine
From a private American collection.
Kent notes that very few gold multiples are known from the reign of Theodosius II, so it is hardly surprising that those of his wife Aelia Eudocia are extremely rare. This medallion presumably was struck for an occasion of great importance to Eudocia's role in court life, and to the perpetuation of the Theodosian dynasty. The first such event was her marriage to Theodosius II on 7 June, 421, but this must be rejected as she was not to assume the title of Augusta for another eighteen months, upon giving birth to a daughter, Licinia Eudoxia, on 2 January, 423. Thus, we are left with her crowning or, perhaps, an event of value to her husband, such as his tricennalia celebrations in 430, as the occasion for the production of this medallion. Kent's division of the solidi of Eudocia and her sister-in-law Pulcheria into different phases offers valuable insight. Indeed, his arrangement favours the assignment of this medallion to the earliest possible date after Eudocia's crowning, as the details of the garments match most closely those on solidi that Kent ascribes to the first period of their coinages, circa 423- 424. He remarks that these solidi (RIC X nos. 226-229) have "...some claim to be regarded as Eudocia's proclamation issue...". Thus, we may speculate with some confidence that this gold medallion was distributed at the coronation ceremonies early in 423 for her assumption of the title of Augusta.A parallel for this issue as an accession type may be drawn with the equally remarkable facing-bust solidi of Eudocia's daughter Licinia Eudoxia, the wife of Valentinian III. They are thought to have been issued on Eudoxia's assumption of the title of Augusta in August of 439; they also have on their reverse the inscription SALVS REI PVB and a depiction of the empress seated, facing (albeit without the nimbus). The rise of Eudocia to the rank of Augusta could hardly have been predicted. It seems an odd twist of fate that this young woman, then called Athenais, caught the eye of the emperor's sister, Pulcheria, during a visit to Constantinople. Pulcheria later came to regret her insistence on the marriage, as her relationship with Eudocia deteriorated, and eventually became hostile. Seemingly late in 437 Eudocia left Constantinople on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, only later to return to a difficult environment in which her allies in court began to suffer for their loyalties. By 443 or 444 she had been excluded from court life, and so departed again to Jerusalem, where she spent the remainder of her life. She apparently maintained the title of Augusta until her death in Jerusalem on 20 October, 460.
|Starting price||60'000 CHF|